Tag:BCS lawsuit
Posted on: June 30, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Utah AG Shurtleff wants legal help in BCS lawsuit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The last time we checked in on Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff's increasingly quixotic attempt to tear down the BCS with an antitrust lawsuit, he was hoping to find other state AG's who might join as co-plaintiffs. He hasn't had much luck there.

He's also asked for help from the U.S. Department of Justice, which has made some noise about stepping in for a look at college football's antitrust status but hasn't yet seemed to do much more than basic fact-finding.

None of this has swayed Shurtleff from what he sees as his appointed mission, though, and he was back in headlines Wednesday when he began soliciting law firms to make up the legal team necessary to bring the suit. As the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
“There are serious antitrust violations in the BCS system that are robbing taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Shurtleff said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “Putting together the strongest legal team from around the country will give us the best chance at bringing equity back to college football.”

Wednesday’s query is the second time Shurtleff has put out a “request for information” to law firms that handle antitrust cases. He first announced he was seeking requests for proposals in April. His latest pursuit to find a law firm to take the case is through BidSync (www.bidsync.com), where interested firms can file responses until Aug. 8.

Shurtleff's over-the-top statement (since when did college football ever have "equity"?) is met by an equally over-the-top statement from Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director. But rather than focus on either side's posturing, the better question is: Will Shurtleff actually be able to bring the suit?

Though there's been some doubt whether he'd have the financial muscle going it alone, a spokesman for his office says the suit is "right on track" to be filed this fall.

We remain somewhat skeptical. But with the DOJ paying some kind of attention and Shurtleff seemingly as committed than ever, it might be time to stop dismissing Shurtleff's chances of getting his day in court. He still needs the legal help he requested yesterday, of course, and a lot of other things (and that's before we even discuss his chances of winning if the suit is brought). But if he is indeed "on track," his story is one that will have to be followed this college football season.


Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:56 pm
 

Hawaii could join Shurtleff BCS lawsuit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff's long-gestating antitrust lawsuit against the BCS may finally have found itself a co-plaintiff.

The emphasis here is on "may." But after months and months of searching for more state A.G.'s to join the suit, Shurtleff can say that Hawaii is at least considering it:
Shurtleff said he and Hawaii AG David M. Louie "talked at length" about the suit at a national attorney general's meeting in March and "he (Louie) was very interested."

Subsequently, Shurtleff said, "we've heard from his staff and we're working on an agreement to be able to share information with them confidentially."

A spokesman for Louie's office said, "We're still looking into it."

Shurtleff said "I'm hopeful many states will join us and I'd love to have Hawaii join us."

You'll note that this is still far from a done deal; as enthusiastic as Shurtleff sounds, until Louie's office makes a statment more positive than "we're still looking into it," there's no chickens to be counted here just yet.

But Shurtleff can at least say he's in the ear of someone who might support him, which is more than he's been able to say since he first announced his plans following Utah's uncrowned, undefeated 2008 season.

The support of other states might be that much more important, too, now that it can't be nearly so big an issue in Shurtleff's own. The Utes have since joined the Pac-12, of course, and thanks to the league's ginormous new TV deal stand to make some $17 million per year off television alone thanks to that membership. Even if Utah State (and Hawaii) stand to benefit, will Shurtleff's constituency really stand for his office's time and funding go towards a suit that would aim at taking BCS money out of the Utes' pockets?

As of today, the answer appears to be yes. But if Shurtleff is forced to go it alone without the likes of Hawaii's or any other A.G.'s assistance, we have to wonder.

Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:11 pm
 

Utah A.G. looking for federal help in BCS suit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has been gearing up for an antitrust lawsuit aimed at bringing down the Bowl Championship Series for quite some time now, and this week he made his pitch to what could prove to be a very powerful friend in his fight against the BCS: the U.S. Justice Department. The administration of president Barack Obama --- who of course famously stated that he would support a playoff in college football -- has already been mulling over an investigation into the fairness of the BCS system. If Shurtleff has his way, that mulling over will become action and the BCS could be facing federal antitrust violations.

But as this report from the Salt Lake Tribune helps illustrate, if Shurtleff doesn't get federal help, the lawsuit will likely never get off the ground. Finding the funding to bring such a high-profile suit is proving to be difficult:

 

Shurtleff said Utah couldn’t cover the costs of the litigation on its own, which is why he has repeatedly reached out to attorneys general from other states and sent a detailed legal brief to the Justice Department six months ago.

He believes the Justice Department would be in a better position to push the issues because AGs from around the nation often represent the major universities in their states and it is the college presidents who make up the BCS.

“Potentially the defendants are your own clients,” Shurtleff said.

Further, the climate for pursuing such a case is growing harsher by the day. Shurtleff first began his crusade in the wake of his home-state Utah program getting shut out of title consideration after their undefeated 2008 run, but since then the Utes have become part of the BCS's landed gentry themselves by accepting a Pac-12 invitation; his constituency may not support his cause with the fervor they once did, another reason he may need the support of the Justic Department.

Beyond that, with both Boise State and the winner of Saturday's mega-clash between Utah and TCU highly likely to play in BCS bowls (and reap BCS cash) this season, non-AQ access to the BCS has never been greater. Shurtleff claims of a potential non-AQ team playing in the national game that ...

“There is no scenario whatsoever where it can happen under the current regime,” he said. “It can not happen.”
But this is simply, patently false; a scenario in which Oregon loses or the SEC champion has two losses could do the trick before the year is out.

Should the Ducks win out and either undefeated Auburn or a one-loss Alabama squeeze the unblemished Broncos, Frogs, or Utes out of the title game, Shurtleff will have a point. It will not be fair to continue to reward perfect seasons by established non-AQ powers with seats at the metaphorical kiddie table. But fair or not, neither the political climate nor the climate surrounding college football seems conducive right now to forcing BCS change at the point of a knife.

HT: GTP .

 


 
 
 
 
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